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Saudi Arabia’s Yemen Offensive, Iran’s ‘Proxy’ Strategy, and the Middle East’s New ‘Cold War’

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Riyadh’s war in Yemen marks a dramatic escalation in its efforts to roll back Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia portrays its Yemen campaign simply as a battle of “good” Arabs and Sunnis supporting Yemen’s legitimate government against “evil” Iranians trying to overthrow it via local Shi’a “proxies”—reiterating a generalized Saudi (and Israeli) narrative about Iran’s use of proxy allies to consolidate regional “hegemony.” More considered analysis shows that Iran’s “proxy” ties are part of an effective strategy to expand political participation in contested regional venues. While Saudi Arabia (like Israel) considers this a mortal threat, it is essential to effective conflict resolution. Riyadh’s intensely sectarian response—including its Yemen war—now fuels what some call a new Saudi-Iranian/Sunni’- Shi’a “Cold War” in the Middle East.


Riyadh’s increasingly destructive war in Yemen has sparked overripe discussion in Western capitals about Iran’s use of “proxies” to subvert otherwise “legitimate” Middle Eastern governments. Driving such discussion is a self-serving narrative, promoted by Israel as well as by Saudi Arabia, about Tehran’s purported quest to “destabilize” and, ultimately, “take over” the region.

Assessments of this sort have, of course, been invoked to justify—and elicit Western support for—Saudi intervention in Yemen. More broadly, the Israeli-Saudi narrative about Iranian ambitions is framed to prevent the United States from concluding a nuclear deal with Tehran—or, failing that, to keep Washington from using a deal as a springboard for comprehensively realigning US-Iranian relations.
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Maidan 3.0: Another Revolution in Ukraine?

Will Ukrainians take to the streets in sufficient numbers to overthrow their US-backed leaders? Over the weekend a large protest in Kiev was violently broken up by masked men while the police looked on. No word from the US condemning the violence. Elsewhere, the US admits sanctions are hurting Europe and not harming Russia, but still it presses for even more of them. RPI Director Daniel McAdams joins RT's CrossTalk today to discuss US policy toward Ukraine and the possibility of more unrest:
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Cold War II to McCarthyism II

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Perhaps it’s no surprise that the US government’s plunge into Cold War II would bring back the one-sided propaganda themes that dominated Cold War I, but it’s still unsettling to see how quickly the major US news media has returned to the old ways, especially the New York Times, which has emerged as Official Washington’s propaganda vehicle of choice.

What has been most striking in the behavior of the Times and most other US mainstream media outlets is their utter lack of self-awareness, for instance, accusing Russia of engaging in propaganda and alliance-building that are a pale shadow of what the US government routinely does. Yet, the Times and the rest of the MSM act as if these actions are unique to Moscow.

A case in point is Monday’s front-page story in the Times entitled “Russia Wields Aid and Ideology Against West to Fight Sanctions,” which warns: “Moscow has brought to bear different kinds of weapons, according to American and European officials: money, ideology and disinformation.”
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Afghan Drone Strike: Expect More Blowback

On Friday, US drones killed 34 at an Afghan funeral. US officials claimed they were all terrorists but the locals on the ground disagreed. Will family members of those killed seek revenge on the US? Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan admitted that this kind of blowback could be a problem for the US. As he put it, "sometimes our engagement and direct involvement will stimulate and spur additional threats to our national security interests." Today's Liberty Report takes a look at these two important events together to see how the first and second are intimately related...
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Military Madness: US Officials Consider Nuclear Strikes against Russia

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US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was at the headquarters of the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany this week with two dozen US military commanders and European diplomats to discuss how to escalate their economic and military campaign against Russia. They will assess the impact of current economic sanctions, as well as NATO’s strategy of exploiting the crisis in eastern Ukraine to deploy ever-greater numbers of troops and military equipment to Eastern Europe, threatening Russia with war.


A US defense official told Reuters that the main purpose of the meeting was to “assess and strategize on how the United States and key allies should think about heightened tensions with Russia over the past year.” The official also said Carter was open to providing the Ukrainian regime with lethal weapons, a proposal which had been put forward earlier in the year.

Most provocatively, a report published by the Associated Press this week reports that the Pentagon has been actively considering the use of nuclear missiles against military targets inside Russia, in response to what it alleges are violations of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. Russia denies US claims that it has violated the INF by flight-testing ground-launched cruise missiles with a prohibited range.
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